Virginia is located in the id-Atlantic region on the east coast of the United States. The state is bordered by Washington, D.C., Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. The Northern Virginia region—closest to Washington D.C. and home to Arlington National Cemetery as well as the Pentagon—is the most populated and urban part of the state.
The capital of Virginia is Richmond, an independent city located in the center of the state. The eastern part of the state includes waterfront properties along the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, and Atlantic coastal communities including Virginia Beach and the Virginia Eastern Shore. The west and southern parts of the state have beautiful scenery and rural communities. Skyline Drive is a National Scenic Byway that runs 105 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains and ends in Shenandoah National Park. The drive is especially scenic during the fall.
As one of the original 13 colonies, Virginia played an important role in American history. Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in North America. Major points of interest include in the state include Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington; Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson; Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy and of Virginia; and Williamsburg, the restored Colonial capital.
Geography, Geology, and Climate of Virginia
Virginia has a total area of 42,775 square miles (110,787 square kilometers). The state’s topography is very diverse ranging from the Tidewater, a coastal plain in the east with low marshlands and an abundance of wildlife near the Chesapeake Bay, to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, with the tallest mountain, Mount Rogers reaching 5,729 feet. The western region of the state is quite rocky thanks to the Blue Ridge range while the northern part of the state is relatively flat and has similar geological features to Washington, D.C.
Virginia has two climates, due to variances in elevation and proximity to water. The Atlantic Ocean has a strong effect on the weather of the eastern side of the state creating a humid subtropical climate, while the western side of the state with its higher elevations has a continental climate with cooler temperatures. The central parts of the state waver in between the two extremes.
Coastal regions have summer temperatures topping out around 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) though you can expect some snow during winter. The western part of the state tends to have lower summer highs, though some cities can still get to the mid-to-high 80s Fahrenheit (20 to 32 degrees Celsius).
Plant Life, Wildlife, and Ecology of Virginia
Virginia's plant life is as diverse as its geography. Middle Atlantic coastal forests of oak, hickory and pine trees grow around the Chesapeake Bay and on the Delmarva Peninsula. The Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia are home to mixed forests of chestnut, walnut, hickory, oak, maple, and pine trees that look especially beautiful when they change colors in the fall. Virginia's state flower-tree, the American Dogwood, grows in abundance throughout the state.
The wildlife species in Virginia are just as varied. There is an overpopulation of white-tailed deer and mammals like black bears, beaver, bobcat, foxes, coyote, raccoons, skunk, Virginia opossum, and otters can be found all over. The Virginia coast is especially known for its blue crabs, and oysters. The Chesapeake Bay is also home to more than 350 species of fish including the Atlantic menhaden and American eel. There is a population of rare wild horses found on Chincoteague Island. Walleye, brook trout, Roanoke bass, and blue catfish are among the 210 known species of freshwater fish found in Virginia's rivers and streams.